Heavy Hauling In Montana



Owner-operator Mikhail Lesko contracts to Firkins Trucking Co., a heavy hauler based in Corvallis, Mont., that specializes in moving lumber building supplies, heavy equipment and grain all over the Northwest and across the United States.

Lesko, based in Missoula, bought a new aerodynamic Kenworth T660 in April and reports he has been experiencing significant fuel savings ever since.

"I get about 6-percent better fuel mileage with my new Kenworth T660," the Missoula-based heavy hauler said, comparing his new T660 to his previous truck. "At that rate, I'll save about $4,000 in fuel costs after one year. That's two months' worth of truck payments."

Before becoming an owner-operator for Firkins Trucking, Lesko worked as a company driver, routinely driving the company's truck of choice: a Kenworth W900. That's when Lesko first experienced driving Kenworths. They're a far cry from the Spartan Russian-made cabover units he drove in Belarus before he and his wife immigrated to the United States in 1995.

"I do all my own maintenance and I know the Kenworth truck is easy to work on, because I can get to everything under the hood easily," Lesko said.

Comfort was another crucial factor when Lesko chose his new truck, since he routinely drives over mountain passes in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, logging in about 12,000 miles per month. Lesko's T660 features the Kenworth Diamond cab interior with proprietary seats and armrests that can be folded away behind the seats. This interior provides Lesko with 4 inches of additional space between the driver seat and the passenger seat. His T660 also sports a 72-inch AeroCab AERODYNE sleeper. The extra room in the cab and large sleeper makes for a more comfortable work environment, Lesko added.

Lesko chose to buy his truck equipped with a new 2007 engine.

"I'm glad I did it," Lesko said. "Now that I've run it for a while, I'm getting the best mileage I've ever had and I'm proud to be doing something good for the environment by running a truck with a cleaner burning engine."

Lesko's Kenworth T660 came standard with two other important features: a built-in global positioning system and the halogen projector low beams. Kenworth GPS Navigation helps him find his destinations quickly and efficiently and gives him turn-by-turn directions so that he doesn't have to keep driving around to reach his destination. The halogen projector lamps provide him 40-percent more light down the road than a sealed beam and will last three times longer. That's particularly important to Lesko because deer crossings frequently occur on dark rural roadways in the Northwest.

Lesko said he also appreciates how the Kenworth T660's well-insulated bulkhead-type doors, which swing true on continuous stainless-steel piano-style hinges, close snugly to the cab with a vault-like fit to help keep road noise out of the cab.

"(In June) I drove a friend's truck back from Wenatchee, Wash., to Missoula, and when I got home my ears were buzzing and my head felt stuffed from all the road noise," Lesko said. "I couldn't hear anything, and I felt tired."

Service after the sale is also another reason why Lesko chose to buy a Kenworth T660, he said.

"The service and parts departments at Kenworth Sales - Missoula (the company's local dealer) take good care of me," Lesko said. "I can count on getting the parts I need when I need them."

Story and photos courtesy of Kenworth